Archive for August, 2013

Trend Update: Burden of Damascus, August 2013

Posted in Burden of Damascus, Isaiah, Prophecy, Trend Update with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 17:1 The oracle concerning Damascus. “Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen ruin.

Damascus is going to be wiped out. The Hebrew is interesting in the description. The grammar states it is going to be taken away and removed. One could state it will be a ruined ruin or a ruined heap!

This is the city of Damascus, Syria. This place has been a hot spot in the Middle East and in the news cycle. The country of Syria has been in Civil War since the spring of 2011. Damascus is the oldest continually inhabited city on the planet. The city’s had residents and inhabitants for over 5,000 years. There is some debate of what the meaning of the name is. In the Hebrew, according to Strong’s Concordance, it means “silent is the sackcloth weaver”. According to Wikipedia, the Damascus metropolitan area has approximately 5 million people.

Late August 2013: It has become obvious to the international community that President Assad of Syria has used chemical weapons on his people. Estimates range from 300-1,300 dead. The Syrian government has issued a warning to the United States not intervene with its military according to USA Today. The Syrian government is blaming the opposition rebels for the attack. Syria has agreed to UN inspections regarding chemical weapons.

Leaders from the United States, England, France, and Germany discussed their options over the weekend of August 24 and 25. Pressure is mounting on President Obama to act with a military response. President Obama’s red line has been crossed with the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

United States war ships have been moved into the eastern Mediterranean. British nuclear submarines and multiple war ships are reported to be in the area. Military intervention appears inevitable.

Russia put Washington on notice Sunday that it would oppose any unilateral military action in Syria. The Russian Foreign Ministry drew a parallel between reports of chemical-weapons use and Washington’s 2003 intervention in Iraq following what proved to be unfounded U.S. accusations that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s government had weapons of mass destruction (Wall Street Journal). Russia declares military intervention should not occur unless there is UN authorization. Unauthorized force would be a “blatant violation of international law”.

Iran is warning of “harsh consequences” to the United States if it acts with a military response. Iran has told the United States it is playing with fire (France24.com). Syria and Iran are warning Israel of stern consequences. Gas masks have been issued in Israel (Drudge Report).

Are these the events leading up to the Burden of Damascus? Is this prophecy about to be fulfilled? Time will tell.

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Isaiah 9:17 Anarchy, Even the Orphans and Widows

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , on August 25, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 9:17 Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in their young men, nor does He have pity on their orphans or their widows; for every one of them is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth is speaking foolishness. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out.

The young men referenced in the verse are the best of the best. They are well-trained specialists, hand selected, and skilled. In other contexts, these young men are skilled military soldiers. Jeremiah 18:21 …their young men struck down by the sword in battle.

God has specific instructions in regards to orphans and widows. Exodus 22:22-24 “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless. Culturally, God calls on the people to take care of orphans and widows. Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

In this case, God shows no compassion, tenderness, or mercy. The entire population is profane and hypocritical. The Hebrew grammar indicates the people are injuring and hurting each other. They all practice evil and wickedness, even the orphans and widows.

They talk about senselessness and folly. They discuss immorality and profane actions. They are talkers and doers of what they say. Vocabulary definitions provided per Strong’s Concordance.

The phrase “In spite of all this His anger does not turn away, and His hand is still stretched out” is noted for the second time in Isaiah 9. The second judgment has been completed. Israel still has two more remaining judgments before completion.

Isaiah 9:13-16 Character in Leadership, Part 3 False Prophets

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 9:13-16 Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. So the LORD cuts off head and tail from Israel, both palm branch and bulrush in a single day. The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.

Biblical principle: Deceitful leadership will result in the destruction of the people they represent.

False prophets and teachers have existed throughout the course of time. Jesus Himself explains how to identify a false teacher in Matthew 7:15-16 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?”

God has a very simple message for false prophets, death. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament. One of them is Jeremiah 14:15 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them—yet they keep saying, ‘There will be no sword or famine in this land’—by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end!” The message for false prophets is the same in the New Testament, death. 2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

False prophets and teachers are motivated by greed and money. This concept is noted throughout the Bible.  2 Peter 2:3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. Micah 3:11 Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, her priests instruct for a price and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, “Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us.”

James 3:1-2 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

No man who is a pastor-teacher is going to be pure and 100% accurate in his teaching. It is not humanly possible and it does not exist. Any man who projects infallibility and purity in his interpretation of Scripture needs to be closely examined, period. To think perfection in interpretation of Biblical doctrine exists in humanity outside of Christ is unrealistic.

If a local body or an individual projects that a pastor-teacher is infallible in interpretation and teaching of Scripture, this should result in reflection and examination as well. In either case, Romans 3:10 “There is none righteous not even one”. We are all flawed human beings.

It is the responsibility of individuals to read the Bible and discern. For that matter, don’t take my word for it either. Search and seek, verify.

Isaiah 19:2, Trend Update, Egyptian Violence

Posted in Isaiah, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 19:2 “So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians; and they will each fight against his brother and each against his neighbor, city against city and kingdom against kingdom…”

This prophecy was written by Isaiah approximately 2,700 years ago. God states He is the one behind the actions and events.

Mid August 2013, Trend Update

Approximately 1 ½ months ago, the elected president of Egypt was overthrown in a coup by the military. The two fighting factions are the military of Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood. The situation in Egypt has grown progressively worse. The violence is escalating with over 600 people confirmed dead and over 4,000 injured in recent events. Violence is reported across the country. More protests are being planned.

Heat is making the stench from the corpses almost unbearable.  Ice is being brought in to chill the bodies. Islamists have attacked Christian targets in several areas torching churches, homes, and businesses. Buildings and property throughout Egypt are being burned. Tourists are not recommended to travel to Egypt. Joint military exercises between the United States and Egypt have been cancelled by President Obama.

News information was gathered from the Associated Press.

Again, I am not suggesting the events we are seeing today are Biblical Prophecy being played out before our eyes. It may be. Time will tell. I would probably have more conviction on prophecy unfolding if the Nile River goes dry. The Nile going dry has not happened in history to my knowledge.

Isaiah 9:13-16 Character in Leadership Part2 Pastor-Teacher

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 9:13-16 Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. So the LORD cuts off head and tail from Israel, both palm branch and bulrush in a single day. The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.

Biblical principle: Deceitful leadership will result in the destruction of the people they represent.

Today in the body of Christ, who is the authority in a local church? Granted, the ultimate authority is Jesus. The person in charge of a local body of believers is the pastor-teacher. Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers… This responsibility is extended to elders and those in church leadership as well. But ultimately, does the pastor-teacher follow in the steps of Jesus’ authority and example?

Jesus demonstrated Himself as a teacher. He taught in synagogues. Luke 4:43-44 But He (Jesus) said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. The people respected His authority as a teacher. Mark 1:22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

There are at least 16 examples in the New Testament where Jesus is called “Rabbi”. The apostles and citizens addressed Him as “Rabbi”. Rabbi is Hebrew for Teacher. John 1:38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?”

Jesus demonstrated the characteristic of a servant while performing as a leader. An example of service would be when He washed His disciple’s feet. John 13:4-5 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. The creator of the universe was willing to strip off His clothes and wash the nasty and dirty feet of those who followed Him. He was willing to care and act towards those under Him with humility.

It is the responsibility of individuals to read the Bible and discern. Be a Berean. Acts 17:10-11 But the brothers at once sent both Paul and Silas to Berea during the night; who having arrived went into the synagogue of the Jews. And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the Word with all readiness, daily examining the Scriptures if these things are so.

For that matter, don’t take my word for it either. Search and seek, verify.

Isaiah 9:13-16 Character in Leadership, Part 1

Posted in Isaiah, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , on August 3, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 9:13-16 Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. So the LORD cuts off head and tail from Israel, both palm branch and bulrush in a single day. The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.

God explains who and what the head and tail are. In the subsequent verses He explains that the head is the elder and the honorable man. The tail is a false prophet. Many times the Bible will define the terms, idiomatic and/or the metaphorical language and examples it is using. One may have to search other books of the Bible to identify the meaning, but they are there. Take the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and their colored horses in Revelation 6. There are references to these four colored horse images in the Book of Zechariah 1:8, 6:2-3. Further explanation and detail are noted in Zechariah. More information can be gleaned with a little effort.

Palm trees were associated with leadership and judgment in the Old Testament.  Leviticus 23:40 states the palm tree is a beautiful and majestic tree. Deborah lead Israel from under a palm tree in Judges 4:5 She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment. Palm trees are frequently positioned with angels in the temple in 1 Kings 6 and Ezekiel Chapters 40, 41.

A bulrush is a reed type plant that was used to make baskets. It is the material used in the basket for the baby Moses in Exodus 2:3. It is also the plant used to make paper.

Poor leadership and discernment, a lack of morality, and light buoyancy are removed quickly. Israel sinks immediately. The Lord Himself eliminates these from the nation. Israel does not change their attitude or their actions. They do not return to God and continue in their arrogance.

Biblical Principle: Deceitful leadership will result in the destruction of the people they represent.

Notice those in charge are deliberately misleading.  The deception is intentional and purposeful. The misguided leadership causes the people to wander physically, mentally, and morally. It is as if the people are wandering around drunk and intoxicated.  The Hebrew Grammar indicates the people will be “swallowed up” because of their poor leadership. It can also mean the people will be confused. Confused and swallowed up are the results of an organization or country when poor leadership deliberately misleads. In this case, it was Israel.

Who is ultimately in charge of an organization or a government?  Take our government of the United States for instance. The President, Congress, and Supreme Court represent three equal branches of government with checks and balances. What kind of leadership is being exhibited in Washington D.C. in August 2013? Is there any deception in D.C.? Is the government looking after the citizen’s best interest and protecting our personal freedoms? Look at the culture from a mental and moral standpoint. How is the culture trending in early 21st Century America? Are we better as a culture and nation? Unlike most places on the planet, we freely elect our leaders. We really get what we ask for in the United States. Are we contributing to our own demise with the leaders we elect?

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